SMS to contain the service connection number, amount to be paid and due date of payment

: The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) will soon launch an SMS facility to remind consumers about electricity bill details and payment from January 2014.

Launch in mid-January

Talking about the features of the facility, which will be launched mid-January, a Tangedco official said once the assessors upload the meter reading in the servers, an SMS would be automatically sent to consumers.

The SMS would contain the service connection number, amount to be paid and due date of payment.

For those consumers who have not paid the electricity bill, a reminder SMS would be sent three days before the last date of payment to avoid penalty.

Tangedco issued a circular to all the section offices in November directing local officials to expedite collection of mobile numbers and create awareness of the facility.

The circular also instructed various local offices to maintain a register for registering mobile numbers of consumers.

But consumers charged that the register was not available in many local offices.

A Tangedco official in north Chennai said in a situation where there was a shortage of assessors and work load heavy, it would be helpful if customers who want to avail themselves of the service volunteer to register their mobile numbers at the local section offices.

Provide details

While welcoming Tangedco’s move to offer SMS service for bill payment, consumers have stressed that adequate information should be provided to residents, well before the launch.

T. Sadagopan, consumer activist from Maduravoyal, near south Chennai, said he was neither informed about the SMS facility by any official nor was there a register available in the electricity office in his locality.

Tangedco had earlier instructed section offices to maintain a register for noting down mobile phone numbers of consumers.

V. Rama Rao, secretary, Lakshmi Nagar Civic Welfare Association, Nanganallur, said the association would volunteer to collect details from its residents, if electricity officials informed them about the procedure. “So far, we have not heard anything from local electricity officials,” he said.

Inadequate data

So far, going by the numbers (see graphic), there has been only minimal data collection by Tangedco. 

A senior official said, up until November, data had been collected from merely 11.09 per cent of consumers in the city, its suburbs, and Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu. The official said the service provider chosen by Tangedco would charge 10 paise per SMS sent.

In the meantime, the agency has written to TRAI seeking ‘bulk mail’ permission.

If granted, the cost per SMS will come down to 5 paise.

The reminder will come three days before last date